WINE AND CHEESE MAKE ENDLESSLY HAPPY PAIRINGS
WINE IS FUN. BEING A WINE SNOB IS NOT.
It’s difficult to imagine anyone more suited for their profession than James Morrison. That is, if “suited” means they get noticeably giddy when discussing their work, with an enthusiasm that draws in others.
Morrison knows an awful lot about wine – but in an approachable way. One gets the impression that, although Morrison’s job is to teach others about wine and to sell it, that he feels a little bad for people who insist on spending $300 for a bottle when they could drink something fabulous for a fraction of that..
Morrison’s message is simple: Wine is fun. Being a wine snob is not.
On a sunny morning in May, Morrison happily discussed wine and cheese pairings, with two recurring themes:
1. Everything is subjective. 2. Have a delicious time.
We met in Westerly at The Wine Store, where Morrison worked for about seven years before moving on to a wine manager position in Milford. He currently works at Friendly’s Discount Liquors in Whitinsville, Mass, which is part of the Macy’s Liquors family.
When conducting tastings, Morrison said he typically proceeds from soft and creamy cheeses to the harder, aged varieties. Similar to wine, the region a cheese hails from is important not only to a good narrative, but in discerning its flavor as well. It’s also important to note whether it’s cow’s, goat’s, or sheep’s milk.
“The origin and the animal are very important because they directly affect the cheese flavor,” Morrison said.
Cow’s milk from the high altitudes of the Swiss Alps has a sweet, nutty flavor unique to the region, for example, making high Alpine cow’s milk a source of pride.
If you’re looking for a theme for an upcoming get-together, Morrison suggests pairing the wine and cheese by geography.
“One of my favorite things to do with cheese and wine, (is) I like to pair where the cheese came from to the origin of the wine,” he said.
So if he has a French cheese from a certain area, Morrison said, he’ll find a wine from the same region.